Like father, like son
Victoria father donates kidney to son
SOURCE: VICTORIA ADVOCATE
Choking up, David Boyd couldn't get through an e-mail his son had sent him.
"I can't finish it," the Victoria man said, tears running over the smile on his face.
The e-mail was from his son, Jeremy Boyd, 34, of San Diego, and it mentioned how grateful he was to his father for saving his life and giving him the gift of watching his son, Jack, grow up.
The gift? David Boyd donated his left kidney to Jeremy.
The transplant happened in early October and saved his son from having to go on dialysis and on a kidney donor waiting list.
"When that point comes in your life, you'll do anything for your child," David Boyd said.
As of Monday, there were 109,137 people waiting for an organ, according to the United Network for Donor Sharing.
From January to July, 16,779 organs have been transplanted, according to the network.
The problem with Jeremy Boyd's kidney's started in 2004, when he had severe migraines and high blood pressure.
A week of tests showed that Jeremy Boyd, who has now retired after 11 years in the Navy, had Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, or FSGS.
The disease attacks the kidney's filtering system and causes scarring.
The kidneys are bean-shaped organs that filter out about 200 quarts of blood a day to make two quarts of waste and extra water. Those two quarts become urine. A kidney does not function when it is unable to filter out the waste, resulting in dialysis.
Jeremy Boyd was a week away from dialysis when he had his transplant.
"It means a lot," he said. "My dad is quite a hero for doing it."
It was nothing really, his father said.
In August, David Boyd had received tests in California to make sure he'd be a match for his son.
"The timing was perfect," said Doris Boyd, David Boyd's wife, who said she was a nervous wreck knowing both her husband and son would be under the knife at the same time. "It was a little stressful. We were all behind it and were all very excited that everything went well."
The two were in adjoining rooms at the University of California San Diego Medical Center for three hours when the donation and transplant took place.
Nearly two weeks after surgery, the two are recovering and are not allowed to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for the next four to six weeks, David Boyd said.
"It is definitely a positive gain in my life," David Boyd said. "I would do it all over again."
Earlier this week, Jeremy Boyd joined his wife and 1-year-old son at a pumpkin patch in San Diego.
He's a little sore but is enjoying life again.
Jeremy Boyd will always be in end-stage renal disease, meaning he will be on medication.
But still, to have a functioning kidney helps his disease be much more bearable.
Jeremy Boyd no longer worries of dialysis three times a week, or dying young and not seeing his son grow up.
Now the two are happy because they are closer than ever. And they want to share a message.
"If more people would donate, you'd save a lot more lives," Jeremy Boyd said.
His father agreed.
"He's still 100 percent Boyd," he said laughing.
Most kidney transplants last 12 to 15 years, but some can last longer.
Dr. Faisal Khan, a Victoria nephrologist, said most times there is a six- to seven-year wait for a kidney transplant.
"Most undergo dialysis but a kidney transplant is the best treatment. It's definitely the better option," Khan said. "It's just we don't have a lot of transplants."
With dialysis, most patients last about seven years, but with transplants, a person's life span is expanded, he said.
"It's a big honor for the people who donate kidneys," he said. "There was a lot of fear among people to donate."
Truth is, a living donor can function well with one kidney, Khan said.
The Boyd's are just happy for a successful transplant, Doris Boyd said.
"It's given him the ability to enjoy his life with his family and children just the way we were able to do with him," she said.